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Microsoft Integrates NCBI BLAST On Windows Azure Cloud


Microsoft has announced at the Supercomputing 2010 conference a new application on Windows Azure cloud fabric, NCBI BLAST, which enables a broader community of scientists to combine desktop resources with the power of cloud computing for critical biological research. Microsoft leverages NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure for all research organizations the same computing resources that provide access to only the largest labs.

Windows Azure accords the genuine platform-as-a-service capabilities that technical computing applications require to draw insights from massive data, so as to address some of the world's biggest challenges across science, business and government.

Researchers in bioinformatics, energy, drug research and many other fields use the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to discover new animal species, improve drug effectiveness and generate bio-fuels, and for many other applications. NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure provides a user-friendly Web interface and brings Windows Azure cloud computing for huge BLAST computations for any scale of operations. The application enable scientists to utilize and collaborate with their private data collections, as well as data hosted on Windows Azure, including NCBI public protein data collections and the results of Microsoft’s 100 billion protein comparison.

The NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure software is available from Microsoft free of cost, and Windows Azure resources are available at no cost to many researchers through Microsoft’s Global Cloud Research Engagement Initiative. NCBI BLAST on Window Azure is available, along with source code, installation guide, Windows Azure developer and user documentation, and free access to NCBI reference databases on Windows Azure.

Microsoft has also launched Service Pack for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 that allows customers to connect their on-premises high-performance computing systems to Windows Azure services. This capability provides customers with on-demand scale and capacity for high-performance computing applications, reducing IT costs and speeding discovery. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has verified that its Tsubame 2.0 supercomputer running on HPC Server has exceeded the ability to execute quadrillion mathematical computations per second.

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